In the Company of Wolves
Right away I want to say, In the Company of Wolves is a weird dark movie even by 1980’s movie standards, which is saying a lot. It is a deeply symbolic movie with some really creepy and disturbing images.
It is based on Little Red Riding hood and was also based on a short story by Angela Carter from The Bloody Chamber anthology . The film came out in 1984 admits a lot of other werewolves movies. It was directed by Neil Jordan who was a writer/producer for Ondine
So how is this movie with all it’s weird creepiness?
Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Micha Bergese as Huntsman
The plot is very untraditional for most movies. The movie’s approach to the narrative is to have stories with story or what the director called “a Chinese Box Structure.” So it’s starts with an adolescent girl, Rosaleen sleeping is her locked bedroom. In her room there are many, many creepy dolls. She dreams that her sister is killed by wolves in a dark yet beautiful forest. She then stays with her Granny who tells her stories about how men, adulthood and sex are all evil and are products of the devil. Rosaleen doesn’t like these stories. Her Granny give her the the soft red knitted cloak.
Rosaleen also has to deal wit the advances of a boy in her village that clearly wants her but she is not as interested in him. On her way to her Granny’s house, Rosaleen meets a charming huntsman. He makes a bet with her that he can make it to her Granny’s house using his compass while going off the path before she can get there using the the path. If she wins she gets the compass and if she loses she has to give him a kiss. He beats her there and kills her Granny by smashing her head off which turns to be porcelain. When Rosaleen arrives at the house she isn’t deceived by the huntsman being a wolf and she tries to shots him. This causes him to scream in pain. This causes Rosaleen to empathize with the wolves and she comforts him with her own story. In the end Rosaleen turns into a wolf and runs off with the pact.
Rosaleen then wakes up from her dream to find wolves breaking in and she screams in terror.
Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with the wolf
Generally speaking with movie is weird, much weirder than my attempt at a summery makes it out to be. But to make this movie’s symbolism and theme simple, this movie is about how adulthood and sex are not evil or bad and one must let go of childhood. So often in traditional fairy tales, men and sex are pegged as evil or just dangerous but as Rosaleen’s mother said women can be beast too. In the end Rosaleen can’t return to her childhood or the village because she is something dangerous and has to live in the forest or adulthood.
Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen and Angela Lansbury as Granny
The characters in this movies are mute point. They don’t matter that much in terms being deep or complex. Rosaleen is the only one with a character arc as she learns that the dangerous wolves or men have feelings and emotions and becomes an adult. Rosaleen’s granny is interesting as she herself is actually a doll in Rosaleen room. She is innocent yet sinister but all her stories and advice are hollow like her head. The huntsmsn is intriguing too, charming yet devious but he does seems to like Rosaleen more than just as a snack.
Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen in the forest
The we have the technicals which give this movie all its weird, creepy and unsettling imagery. Most of the disturbing parts deal with the transformation of men to wolves. One guy literally tears his face off. It’s effective especially given the nightmare/dream concept. There are of crazy visuals, like Rosaleen’s dolls which I thought would give me nightmare. But nothing is bad, everything gives with movie a sense style and it a visual language. It’s a good example of a movie showing and not telling as it communicates its point.
Though it unclear why Rosaleen screamed at the end. Speaking of Rosaleen the acting is okay. It feels like an 80’s style of acting.
Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen with a nest of eggs
The Company of Wolves is a strange movie with lots of powerful symbolism. It’s not your standard coming of age story. I enjoyed it in an academic way. It’s not a movie I wouldn’t re-watch again and again but I would recommend you check it out if you want to watch something weird, very weird.